The Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem has reopened and needs volunteers to assist with its important archeological work of sifting through history to find historical treasures.
15 years ago, archeologists discovered a huge pile of earth that had been moved from Temple Mount into the Kidron Valley by the Muslim Waqf. The problem with the project was that all the layers of history had been scooped up and dumped in a big pile of dirt – like a big pile of jigsaw pieces that needed to be sorted and assembled to recreate the full picture of the history of Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. Recognizing the scale of this task, the archeologists set up the Temple Mount Sifting Project and enlisted the help of volunteers to sift through the dirt.
Over the past 15 years, volunteers have recovered over 500,000 artifacts including 5,000 coins, inscriptions, mountains of pottery pieces, Egyptian treasures, jewelry, remnants of weapons, bone tools, and even the charred bone remains of Temple sacrifices. Research into the discoveries has shown that some of these artifacts date back to the time of the Jebusites, the reign of King David, the First Temple and Second Temple, and every era since then.
The new sifting center was reopened on Jerusalem Day, June 2, 2019, with new premises with space for up to 80 volunteer archeologists. They use a wet sifting technique to sort through buckets of dirt on special tables, which is way more comfortable than digging in the ground! There are displays showing items that volunteers have discovered, and guides to explain what to look for. The project is supervised by Bar Ilan University, with archeologists on-hand to answer your questions and identify anything you find that looks interesting.
Volunteering at the Sifting Project can be very exciting. You may discover amazing treasures, such as coins from Biblical times or intriguing pieces of pottery. It may inspire you to become an archeologist, and you are sure to walk away with a greater understanding of the complexity of the science of digging through dirt!
Talk to Shatour Israel Experience about volunteering at the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem for a really historic experience!
Photo credit: Ana Al’ain